School shootings have engendered great public anxiety and fostered a widespread notion that schools are not safe for a number of students. It is therefore important to look into ways of curbing such situations so as to generate a positive perspective regarding our schools. This essay is aimed at counteracting those misapprehensions by probing empirical evidence of school and community violence trends and reviewing evidence and theories of crime on best practices that can be helpful in the deterrence of school shootings. It is also important to note that, many of the school safety and security measures set up in response to school shootings by juveniles have little research support, and strategies such as zero-tolerance restraint and student profiling have been broadly criticized as unsound practices.
To begin with, I must say that threat assessment has been identified as one of the most promising approach for violence deterrence that merits auxiliary study. This is the reason why it deems important that the schools develops crisis response plans in preparation for and mitigation of such rare events that are being witnessed in our schools today. Generally, in every society or learning institutions there are norms, values, beliefs and rules that govern how its members should behave and interact with each other. The formulated laws are usually aimed at maintaining social order and enhance cohesiveness among the members of the community or such institutions like schools (Goodwin, 2005). Anyone who acts in contrary to these rules and directives is prone to sanctions as stipulated in the cord of conduct of that given institution.
Theories of Crime
Social learning theory: According to Siegel (2008), crime is a concept that is socially constructed and propelled in the society through the process of modelling. A child imitates people who are superior in the society and expose their behaviour if it is rewarded and refrain from deviant behaviour if discouraged via punishment. Furthermore, a child may engage in deviant behaviour due to conformity and peer pressure from others so as to attain a sense of belonging.
Social bond theory: This theory proposes that the norms, values, beliefs and commitment that people do hold depend on how they have been socialized in the society. If the moral codes of the society are well impacted on the members, prevents them from engaging in deviant behaviours thus enhancing cohesiveness among the people. The theory also states that laws are formed to prevent criminality in the society in future. The theory mainly rests on the premise that breaking of social bonds frees one to engage in criminal acts and vice verse holds true.
Social disorganization theory: This theory focuses on the means through which various institutions in the society function together to maintain the whole system. If there is no effective interaction and collaboration within the elements of the system, it will lead to weakened social bond among the members of the society hence enhancing occurrence of crime in the society.
General crime Theory: While social learning theory relay on forces from a group and one’s growing environment in providing prospective view of crime, general crime theory base its premise on the pressure placed on an individual by the society due to negative treatment (Siegel, 2008) .
Peterson, et al (1996) affirms that understanding Trait Theory is very vital in considering the causes of criminal activity. However, it is obligatory that we comprehend both theories and how they affect the possibility of someone taking part in criminal activity. It is also necessary to consider how an attempt to control crime would take place under each theoretical school. These findings have tremendously important implications, for they say that what we do in our schools on a day-to-day basis in terms of discipline may be related to serious crime and violence.
Heart wrenching tragedies and a number of devastating threats in schools across the globe has provided to us with several important lessons. One, we must employ a no-nonsense response to violence in schools. Two, schools have the mandate to put in place effective and comprehensive prevention strategies and finally to educate students about shifting away from zero tolerance to what might be termed as early intervention school discipline policies.
When analyzing the "why" people engage in criminal behaviour, it is important to consider biological, social, and psychological traits of an individuals (Goodwin, 2005). This vital since determining all susceptible characteristics will eventually result in a system that is able to implement increased preventative services in our schools.